During our phone chat a few weeks ago (because we weren’t able to get together as hoped), my uncle told me that (based on what he’d read so far) he considered what I write nicely readable. That’s a good thing, though, he asserted. If it’s what I want, I should run with it.
But I thought how that could also be considered a “backhanded” compliment: that it is good enough to sell and attract readers, yeh, but it isn’t “deep.”
Recently I’d also noted a reader who’d written to me that she thought the books belonged in history classes. That is quite a compliment for fiction; but I wasn’t writing history, of course. (As flattering as that may be to hear, I don’t want to scare away potential readers here thinking they’re dry history. They’re not!) Yet “history” would seem pretty “deep” stuff, no?
The other day Kindle sent out a note suggesting we authors optionally “age rate” our books. I thought I’d share it. I’ve removed the superfluous and “personal” parts and screen captured the core of it:
Kindle sends out lots of stuff – some useful, some not. But this just seems a sloppy tech issue from their end. There’s a straightforward reason I haven’t chosen an under-18s level for my novels and Kindle knows it already.
As I was working yesterday on a Distances scene – holiday is over; novels don’t get finished unless YOU finish them – that includes a new character, I was struck by this thought.
The books are built around core characters we know by now. There are others who are prominent regulars too of course: the various parents and certain friends.
However, much as in real life, we have people we know who make an impression and (sometimes sadly) leave us. Often someone has to move on, or we just grow apart. Sometimes they drift back into our lives; but sometimes they never do, or plain cannot:
“No permission is sought, or granted,” Harris wrote. “There is no opt-out clause for authors or publishers. This is censorship, not by the State, but by a religious minority, and if you think it sounds trivial, take a moment to think about this…
“ISIS are currently destroying antiquities and historical sites in the Middle East, including the ancient city of Nimrud, the walls of Nineveh and statues up to 8000 years old.
“And all in the name of purity, morality and good taste.”
Others have condemned the app as “f***ing horrifying,” and apparently laying the foundation for a rerun of the 1933 Nazi Germany mass book burnings. And more.
Based on how strongly so many feel, I did as Harris asked. I did take a moment to think…..
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson’s Comments About Filming ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Are Kind of Appalling
Previously I’ve addressed the book in general terms – although I have not read it; and I have no plans to see the film – largely because as writers we can’t pretend it’s not there. Indeed it’s foolish for any fiction/ romance author to imagine it’s honestly possible to ignore (for the moment anyway) its reach and impact. It’s that 800 pound gorilla on the bookshelf.
I didn’t wear reading glasses before writing Passports. Although I do suspect now that I probably could have used them before. Since 2013-14, though, I have noticed my reading sight has deteriorated a bit more: it’s probably at least partly due to all the time in front of a screen.
Having some fun, I gave “Virginie” reading glasses in the novels. I also infer “James” is going to need them eventually. I did so because as I was writing I was feeling I was going to need reading glasses for my real-life self.
My own eyes had begun to require glasses in my twenties for long distance. But as my eyes “matured” further my distance vision oddly improved. Eventually I no longer needed those glasses – they went to charity years ago.
For some years I needed no correction at all, until I began to find reading was becoming more challenging. Probably like many of you (and like “Virginie” and “James”), I began to discover my arms weren’t long enough: I couldn’t hold a book far enough away to make out smaller text comfortably. So glasses for myself were again in order – this time for reading.
Indeed, they’re now absolutely necessary. I mean look at the text in this book. (It was a Christmas present.) Someone’s got to be kidding. Seriously:
Itsy bitsy text is much more common in non-fiction (especially academic books) than in fiction, I grant you. But still…. come on….
No way this is just me. The book’s roughly 15cm x 23cm, which is about 6 inches by 9. The print is tiny; it must be a 6. Maybe. And the pages are white, which is not exactly easy on the eyes either.
In comparison. Ahem. My novels? 5 x 8 inches, cream pages, and Georgia 9 font – a reasonable reading size.
An open letter:
After reading of the Emperor Trajan’s life, I anticipate need of my eyes for other tasks going forward in what time on this earth may remain to me.
Struggling with the Minuscule Print in Wiltshire.
Have a good last day of January, wherever you are in the world. :-)